By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 30, 2010 at 5:42AM
Wasting no time, Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media, having acquired Universal's Rogue label and Overture's distribution and marketing divisions, has pacted with Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which has formed a new film and television production arm. The next step for Relativity may be going public.
Virgin Produced and Rogue Pictures are forming a joint venture to develop, produce and market films together. Based in LA, producers Jason Felts (Romance and Cigarettes) and Justin Berfield (child star of Malcolm in the Middle), former heads of recently shuttered six-year-old J2TV / J2 Pictures (TV's short-lived Sons of Tucson), will lead Virgin Produced as CEO and chief creative officer, respectively. Both companies are positioning themselves as entrepreneurial innovators who are willing to break the mold: "With Rogue’s boundary breaking approach and Virgin’s entrepreneurial strength, the brands are perfectly suited for each other," stated Felts.
“Virgin has always been about doing it your way, expressing oneself through innovation,” stated Kavanaugh. “It dares to be different. We believe that their approach to film is suited to do just that and pairing the Virgin and Rogue brands together to create innovation couldn’t be more natural.”
“Entertainment has long been a focus of the Virgin brand, and I’m excited for the chance to further grow in this space,” stated Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “Jason and Justin’s approach is very entrepreneurial, very Virgin. We share a passion for creating and nurturing communities of talent and fresh material. The Rogue and Virgin brands seem an obvious fit for each other.”
Virgin will start developing and producing new films and expects to co- produce two to three movies a year with Relativity/Rogue, taking advantage of the new studio's distribution and marketing. An untitled Peter Farrelly project will be first out of the gate.